Sam Waley-Cohen believes the main threat to Long Run regaining his Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup crown is likely to come from stablemate Bobs Worth.
The amateur jockey fears the Hennessy Gold Cup winner who, like Long Run, is housed at Nicky Henderson's stables at Seven Barrows.
"Bobs Worth's form looks incredibly impressive and improving second-season chasers have a strong record so he has to be the one to beat. But in many years you would have to say the winner of the King George would have to be favourite so it's an intriguing race this year," he told At The Races.
"The form of all the leading contenders is strong whether it's Sir Des Champs or Silvianico Conti, or some that haven't been prominent in the betting. In reality whatever wins it is going to have to run up to a mark which they have not yet achieved and that is what makes this race particularly exciting."
Long Run has not seen racecourse action since winning the King George VI Chase for a second time at Kempton on Boxing Day. Plans to give him a prep run in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury were scrapped because of the testing ground, but the lack of a recent outing does not worry Waley-Cohen.
He said: "There's no worry about him being race ready. Nicky Henderson got Bobs Worth ready to win the Hennessy without a run. I don't think the gap between the King George and the Gold Cup holds any real fears."
There had been talk of Long Run wearing cheekpieces in the blue riband, but the jockey reports that had yet to be decided.
"We are discussing and considering putting him in cheekpieces, but it does present two challenges," he said.
"He is pretty keen over the first mile of a race and cheekpieces aren't going to help that, but he seems to need them in the last mile of the race. We will just have to sit down and take into consideration whether they are going to be a help or a hindrance."
9 December 2013Drowne waits on X-ray news
Four-star Harley at Wolverhampton
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Sprinter prospect exciting Kempton
Winner a Strongpoint for Crawford
Hurricane honoured in HRI awards
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African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
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8 December 2013Twin lights up Hilly Way
Ex-Oxx ace Mofeed lifts Cup
Kanaloa sizzles in Sprint
Dominant shocks The Fugue in Vase
Turner back in business
Faugheen in impressive strike
Flemenstar out of John Durkan
Unioniste claims Listed prize
Grugy great in Tingle Creek
V for victory for Henderson
Chance best in Becher thriller
Hinterland reigns in Henry VIII
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7 December 2013V for victory for Henderson
Twinlight out to show the Way
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Bec puzzler for Lavelle
Moore's Vino is vintage stuff
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George plots Aintree gold rush
King out to reign in Henry VIII
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Sir champing at bit for Durkan date
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6 December 2013Carberry sidelined for weekend
Dunaden 'back to his best'
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Sire out to profit from Sacre blow
Queen awarded ROA honour
Three-month ban for Arnold
Contrite Butler must 'rebuild life'
Nicholls watching ground for Roque
Topper tests Future waters
Murphy hit by nine-day ban
Big field for Becher
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Cadeaux team enjoying the ride
Lantern burning bright once more